South-central China

The Southern Central Region of China is largely an agricultural area, but it has some quite large cities and considerable industry as well. This area is generally poorer than the coastal provinces on the eastern and southern coasts and is the main source of migrant laborers for those provinces.

The regions of Sichuan and Chongqing are sometimes referred to as Western China by Chinese, because they are the edge of China proper (the area historically inhabited by Han Chinese) even though they are near the center of the modern Chinese state. Western Sichuan was once part of a Tibetan Kingdom and part of Eastern Tibet; it lies at edge of the region and is the gateway to the frontier/minority provinces of Tibet (Xi Zang, literally Western Tibet) and Xinjiang.

Chongqing is historically and culturally part of Sichuan, but is now administratively a separate municipality and a mega-city in its own right. With a population of almost 30 million counting suburbs, it is China's largest city.

Regions

Provinces of Southern-central China
Anhui
Chongqing
Hubei
Hunan
Jiangxi
Sichuan

Cities

Other destinations

Get around

As elsewhere in China, there is an extensive rail network. Rail is the main means of inter-city travel for the Chinese themselves, and many visitors travel that way as well. The system now includes fast bullet trains on most major routes; unless your budget is very tight, these are the best way to go fast, clean and comfortable.

All the major cities have airports with good domestic connections; some have international connections as well. See the individual city articles for details.

There is also an extensive highway network, much of it very good. Buses go almost anywhere, somewhat cheaper than the trains. See the China article for more. Driving yourself is also a possibility, but often problematic due to the dangerous driving habits and lack of law enforcement; see Driving in China.

See

Eat

No visit to Chongqing would be complete without a visit to one of the famous hot pot restaurants throughout the city. A spicy broth with seasonings most westerners have never tasted, diners boil their meats and vegetables in this heavenly stock. Try the pig brain and lotus roots or stick with the beef and potatoes - everything tastes better from a hot pot!

Stay safe

As with most mainland China your only risk is being pick pocketed provided you use common sense. Driving can be very dangerous, in particular in places with mountainous roads and during heavy down pours. Some people recommend sitting at the back of the bus in case of a crash. On occasion foreigners are banned from minority regions (Tibetan) during political sensitive times without warning and you will be sent back and fined if you are discovered. More likely you will not even be able to buy a ticket. Check out beforehand if traveling into these areas to make sure they are open! (West Sichuan)

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